08/05/2014 05:32 pm ET Updated Oct 05, 2014

Change Gears: Do Hard Things to Succeed

My weekend warrior routine consists of rigorous debate with my BFF about whether or not cycle class sucks. She loves it. I hate it. My tendency is to go so we can hang out and have breakfast and coffee afterward, but I also complain the entire time. My whining amuses my BFF, which is one reason I love her.

This past Saturday started out pretty typical; I dragged myself out of bed much earlier than I prefer, grumbling the whole time about being up before 9 a.m. I go to the gym, tie on my cycle shoes and begin a diatribe that lasts an entire hour. This week however, was different.

About 15 minutes into class, right after the "warm-up" (from which I was still breathless), the instructor said something that hit me like a bolt of lightning.

"You have to change gears if you want to get better. Doing hard stuff makes you stronger; oh, and this works in real life too."

I spent the rest of the class pondering those three sentences. Yes, book after book after book has been written about finding a deep motivation to change. But, for some reason, having heard it in this class, on this particular Saturday, at this particular time, it resonated deeply with me.

Perhaps one reason it did was that I'd spent weeks making plans to throw myself out of a perfectly good airplane for the first time. I've never skydived, but I had always wanted to try it, despite the cold prickly fear sensation that always came over me when I considered actually doing it -- a sensation that was similar to the uncertainty I always feel on a first date, but without the life-threatening aspects. I knew that skydiving would be a gear changing event for me. But that's another post.

For me, leaving Facebook was hard. Breaking up with my longtime boyfriend was hard. Skydiving was hard. Building a successful career in marketing, and becoming an expert in my field. Hard. Hard. Hard.

So, during the rest of the cycle class time, I thought about my life and professional success, and how many, many times I've heard people tell me: "You are so lucky."

Luck didn't get me out of bed at ungodly hours to work.

Luck didn't find things to fix that were broken that were outside my job description.

Luck didn't prepare, study, and have a voracious desire to learn.

Luck has nothing to do with success. However, changing gears does.

I don't even know Lady Luck; never met the woman. I've never won a lottery or even an office pool. I only know changing gears. Like many people, I often forget the simplicity of success and find myself in a rut. Then, I grumble my way to a cycle class and serendipity intervenes with a gift of a few words from a dedicated coach at 24 Hour Fitness named Adam Moore.

Life is lucky that way.

Note: before I write a post, I typically research a few key words to read what others (more smart and eloquent than I) have written. This post is one of my favorites on this topic. Concise. Hard hitting. Smart. I enjoyed it very much and I hope you do, too.

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